This article is contributed by Timothy Ho, Co-Founder and Managing Editor of DollarsAndSense.sg.
Content marketing is a big thing these days in the marketing world.
In the past, people used to pay for advertising space in traditional media. These were expensive services that cost brand owners a lot of money.
You pay an ad agency money to create your marketing materials, and then even more money to have it advertised on media channels such as newspapers and television channels.
These days, our media consumption patterns have changed. People no longer stay at home and watch TV channels with ads being served to them. They seek alternatives like Netflix instead.
Neither do they read the newspaper as much and view the advertisements on them.
More crucially, however, is that they no longer want to pay for content. And that matters a lot to digital publishers like DollarsAndSense.sg.
A Digital Publisher In The Personal Finance Space
DollarsAndSense.sg was created in 2012 with the objective of helping people make better financial decisions. We wanted to share about important financial insights so that people could make educated and informed decisions for themselves.
From the day we started, we knew that we would not charge for content. We believe that the content we produced should be available for all.
You see, we started at an age where people no longer had to be restricted to just a few sources for the content they seek. If you want to know more about finance, you can just Google your questions and get millions of “answers”.
If you want to stay in touch with the latest financial news, you no longer have to purchase The Business Times from the news stand. You could easily go to websites like The Economist, Business Insider or Forbes for the content that you are looking for.
How Do Digital Publishing Websites Make Money?
Since we do not charge a single dollar to readers who read our article, how then do we survive as a publisher?
I will share two possibilities today:
1. Useless Ad Banners
The first is through the traditional ad banner way. You put up an ad banner on DollarsAndSense.sg just like how you would buy an ad slot on The Straits Times. The larger your reach, the higher you can charge. At least, it appears that way.
The (big) problem with that method is that ad banners are simply useless. Engagement rates with such banners are awfully low most of the time because who the heck would click on ad banners these days?
2. Content Marketing
The more natural way to monetise digital publishers and to keep the website running is through content marketing.
Put bluntly, content marketing is when we work with brands to write about their products or services in our articles.
Content marketing isn’t about just working with the biggest website that can bring you the most amount of pageviews. If that were the case, then surely The Real Singapore would have been successful, given that they were at one point, more popular than both The Straits Times and Channel NewsAsia.
Content marketing is about working with the right partners who can reach out to your preferred target audience. It is about communicating about your products and services through the appropriate digital publisher(s).
A candid example we love to give is that you would (almost) never find DollarsandSense.sg talking about where the best Nasi Lemak or Chicken Rice in Singapore is. It isn’t because we do not have an opinion about food (because we certainly do!).
It is because that is not what our brand is about.
Balancing Between Editorial Independence And Clients Marketing Objectives
Writing financial content can be challenging. We have the unenviable task of turning complex and dry topics into relevant and interesting articles for people to read.
Furthermore, being in the financial space, trust is critical for our survival. The success or failure of our media business hinged heavily, if not, entirely, on the trust that people have in our brand. If people do not trust us to produce independent content that we ourselves believe in, we will start losing our identity. It’s a slippery slope to take.
Clients that we work with will always have their own marketing objectives. The key here is to integrate their marketing objectives into our editorial piece in a natural way.
And if that means saying “no” to some deals outside of our area of expertise, or which we don’t believe in, so be it.
Join Us On 20 July For A Digital Publishing Workshop
Along with some other websites such as Vulcan Post and Have Halal Will Travel, we will be sharing some of our insights in a digital publishing workshop on 20 July.
If you are interested to find out more about this exciting space, do take the time to register and join us on that day. We love to share with you more.
Register for the event here. See you there!
Timothy Ho is the co-founder of DollarsAndSense, a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions.